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Karnataka to arrange stranded labour movement for work




With the easing of lockdown norms to revive economic activity in non-hotspots or containment zones, the Karnataka government directed district authorities to arrange transport for movement of stranded labourers in the state for construction or other works, an official said on Saturday.

“Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar has directed deputy commissioners of the districts, which do not have Covid hotspots or containment zones to arrange buses or other vehicles for transporting the stranded labour to work sites only within the state,” the official told IANS here.

Since the lockdown was enforced on March 25 and extended on April 15 up to May 3, thousands of local and migrant labourers have been staying at make-shift relief camps in cities, towns and border areas due to the suspension of bus and train services and ban on movement of people.

“The district authority should, however, ensure only 40 per cent of buses or other transport vehicle is occupied to maintain social/physical distancing while commuting. The labour should wear masks and safety gear like gloves for their personal protection,” said the official citing the order.

Though the state government on April 20 decided to continue the 19-day extended lockdown across the state till May 3, it partially relaxed guidelines on April 23 to allow select non-essential activities, including construction of houses and buildings, laying off and repair of roads and state/national highways.

“As thousands of workers employed in industry, agriculture, construction or other sector moved from their work places and are sheltered in relief camps during the lockdown, they can be screened and those who are asymptomatic can the transported to their work places with safety measures,” said the order.

The order, however, banned movement of the migrant labourers outside the state, as lockdown continues and public transport services likes buses and trains remain suspended till May 3.

Construction works in urban and rural areas where labour can be used include water supply, sanitation, laying and setting up of power transmission lines and electrical optic fiber and cables.

Growers of commodity plantations such as bamboo, coconut, areca nut, cocoa and spices can hire stranded workers for harvesting, processing, packaging, marketing and sale.

Of the 30 districts across the state, 13 are red spots with 12-120 positive cases, 8 orange spots with 1-11 cases and 10 are green spots with zero cases since the virus spread in March.

The partial relaxation has enabled industrial units, micro, small and medium enterprises to resume operations.

Manufacturing of essential goods like drugs, pharma products, medical devices and raw materials and intermediaries, food processing industries in rural areas and packaging materials has also been allowed.

National News

Arvind Kejriwal urges Centre to cancel CBSE exams




Amid a continued rise in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday urged the Centre to cancel the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations.

“There would be around six lakh students and around one lakh teachers who will come to the exam centers and in turn, these centres may turn into new Covid-19 hotspots. This fourth wave of the pandemic in Delhi is very critical and it is also affecting the youth and children. I would request the Centre to cancel the CESE exams,” he said while addressing a press conference.

“We have seen that in past few days several countries have cancelled exams. Even in India many states have called board exams.

“We can find some other alternatives for assessment of students’ performances to declare their results,” he added.

Kejriwal also said that the present Covid-19 situation in the capital city is critical as there were over 10,000 single-day cases being registered for the last few days, and therefore more dedicated beds would be required in the coming days.

“The Delhi government would convert schools into Covid care centres to increase the number of beds,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also said that due to surge in Covid-19 cases in the city, Delhi government hospitals have been directed to conduct emergency surgeries only and to cancel planned surgeries for the next two to three months.

“Planed surgeries are in high number while emergency surgeries are usually less. Therefore, hospital authorities have been directed to admit non-covid patients only if it is an emergency case.”

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FIR against 3 Bihar MLAs for violating Covid norms




The Bihar Police have registered an FIR against three MLAs from the opposition parties for violating Covid norms in Rohtas district, an official said.

Shyam Sunder Rai, the circle officer of the Nasriganj in Rohtas district confirmed the development.

The FIR registered against Anita Chaudhary, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA from Nokha and a former minister; Arun Singh, the CPI-ML MLA from Karakat, Vijay Kumar Mandal, RJD MLA from Dinara in Rohtas district.

The three legislators went to the Baradih village under Nasriganj police station to participate in a political event on Monday evening. The event was organized by RJD veteran leader Ram Nath Yadav. Besides them, a number of local public representatives and leaders of Rohtas district also participated in the event.

“As a duty magistrate, I found that majority of leaders are not wearing face masks and not maintaining social distancing norms. As the second wave of corona is at its peak, there is a possibility of it spreading further. Hence, I have lodged a complaint with the concerned police station against them,” Rai said.

“We have also learnt that the organizer had not taken permission from the district administration for the event,” Rai said.

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Sushil Chandra takes charge as 24th CEC




Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Tuesday took charge as the 24th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India replacing Sunil Arora, who retired a day earlier.

Chandra was appointed as an Election Commissioner on February 14, 2019.

Along with Arora and former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, Chandra oversaw the successful organisation of that year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Chandra’s term will end on May 14, 2022. Before that however, Assembly elections are likely to take place in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday appointed Chandra as the new CEC in line with the convention to appoint the senior-most election commissioner to the top post.

Chandra is the senior-most Election Commissioner, ahead of Rajiv Kumar.

After Arora’s retirement, there is only two members in the poll panel.

Chandra will oversee the completion of the ongoing Assembly elections in West Bengal, where four out of the eight rounds of voting have been completed.

The final phase will take place on April 29, followed by the counting of votes and declaration of results on May 2.

During his over two-year tenure as an Election Commissioner, Chandra supervised assembly elections of more than 10 states and worked towards making the entire nomination process online.

As a member of the Arora-headed panel, Chandra was also involved in the organisation of the recently concluded Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.

Other assembly elections conducted during Chandra’s tenure as an Election Commissioner include those in Maharashtra and Haryana (October 2019), Jharkhand (December 2019), Delhi (February 2020) and Bihar (October-November 2020).

The Bihar polls were the first to take place during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier, Chandra had served as the chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

Under his leadership, CBDT launched “Operation Clean Money” in 2017 in a bid to curb illegal wealth and black money.

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